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Nov 19, 2022 3 min read

How to Start, Stop and Restart Cron Jobs

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Cron jobs are an excellent way of automating tasks at a predefined time in Linux. From continued backups to system resource usage, it can do many things that make the life of a Linux sysadmin easier.

At times, you'll notice that cron jobs didn't run as expected. Checking the cron logs is the first step of troubleshooting.

Stopping, starting, or restarting the cronjobs is part of the troubleshooting process.

In this quick tutorial, I'll share how to stop, start or restart cron services in Linux.

How to start cron job

If the cron daemon is not started in the Linux system, the cron job will not execute. You have to start the cron service first.

Like most other things in Linux, the way of handling services is also different. This is why I am listing different commands for Debian and Red Hat systems.

For Redhat/CentOS:

service crond start

On older versions of Redhat and Centos, use:

/etc/init.d/crond start

For Ubuntu and Debian Systems:

sudo service cron start

On older versions, you can use the following:

sudo /etc/init.d/cron start

You won't see anything in the output if the commands run successfully. How do you know if cron job is running then? Check the status of the cron service with the following:

sudo service cron status

It should show the active status:

Check that cron service is running

That takes care of starting cron services. Let's see about stopping it.

How to stop cron job

If you don't want to keep on running cron jobs, stop it until your troubleshooting is over. You can start it again after that.

On Redhat and CentOS, use the command below to stop the cron service:

service crond stop

For older versions, use:

/etc/init.d/crond stop

For Ubuntu and Debian, you can use this command:

sudo service cron stop

or use the below command for older versions:

sudo /etc/init.d/cron stop

You can check if the cron service is stopped or not using the command:

sudo service cron status

It should show an inactive state:

Check that cron service is stopped

How to restart the cron job

Did you try turning it off and on again? Jokes apart, restarting often fixes things on its own. While troubleshooting, you may try restarting the cron service as well.

On Redhat and CentOS

service crond restart

Or try the older commands:

/etc/init.d/crond restart

For Ubuntu and Debian systems, use

sudo service cron restart

The older command can also be tried.

sudo /etc/init.d/cron restart

Restart is equivalent to stopping and starting the service again. You can try that as well.

Restart cron jobs

I hope you will have got a good understanding of the cron jobs and how to start, stop, and restart them.

Crontab Explained in Linux [With Examples]
Learn the concept of crontab in Linux. See how you can set up cron jobs to automatically run scripts and command at predefined time.

If you are new to Cron, you can refer to our beginner's guide to cron.

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